Cuba saw its first wedding between two trans people took place earlier this week.
Trans man Ramses, and trans woman Dunia, married in Havana’s San Francisco de Paula Marriage Palace on Tuesday (16 July).
However, the couple had to register under their birth genders on the official marriage documentation.
The National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) said that the couple were within their rights to marry.
‘This legal act doesn’t violate Cuban law because it’s about two people whose legally registered gender is female and male, even though that’s incoherent with the gender identities of Ramses and Dunia,’ CENESEX said in a statement on their Facebook page.
Navigating legal hurdles
CENESEX is run by Mariela Castro, who is a prominent LGBT rights campaigner and daughter of former president Raul Castro.
Mariela has been fundamental in progressing LGBTI rights in the island-nation in recent years.
The organization was able to guide the couple through their legal rights, AFP reports. For example, the country does not have any legal requirements for couples to dress according to birth gender at wedding ceremonies.
Both Ramses and Dunia are awaiting gender affirmation surgery. Cuba has offered gender affirmation surgeries for free since 2008.
Changing attitudes in Cuba
In the past, Cuba has been hostile towards the LGBTI community.
Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, then-president Fidel Castro sent 25,000 gay men deemed unfit for military service to labor camps. Until 1993, Cuba also quarantined people with HIV and AIDS.
However, in 2010, Castro apologised for injustices perpetrated against the LGBTI community under his five-decade rule.
There remains pushback from religious and conservative elements in Cuban society.
However, LGBTI rights in the island republic have markedly improved in recent years.
It is now illegal for employers to discriminate against people because of their sexuality or gender.
The country also updated its constitution to change the definitaion of marriage. The definition of marriage was changed to ‘a social and legal institution’ from ‘union between a man and a woman’ as it was before.
This will lead to the reform of the Family Code over the next two years. In turn, this could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.